Malaga (1954 film)
|Directed by||Richard Sale|
|Produced by||M. J. Frankovich|
|Written by||Robert Westerby|
|Music by||Benjamin Frankel|
|Edited by||Bert Bates|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
Malaga (aka Port of Spain and Fire Over Africa in its United States release) is a 1954 British-American Technicolor film noir crime film directed by Richard Sale and stars Maureen O'Hara as a former O.S.S. secret agent and Macdonald Carey as a smuggler. The film takes its title from Málaga, Spain where it was primarily shot on location.
Peter Sellers dubbed at least six actors in the cast without credit, with one account listing as many as 14 roles being dubbed. One of the cast was Irish-born, American actor James O'Hara, Maureen O'Hara's brother.
Joanna Dane (Maureen O'Hara) is sent to Tangiers to get information on, and close down, an international smuggling ring. Dane is adept at jiu jitsu, firearms, and wisecracks that she uses on anyone who tangles with her. Her beauty, attractive outfits and skill with playing cards get her a position as a croupier at a smuggler's hangout called Frisco's, run by the hard blonde Frisco (Binnie Barnes). Joanna also is pursued by smuggler Van Logan (MacDonald Carey), who she uses by having him take her to Ali Baba's, a parfumerie run by the suspicious Mustapha (Ferdy Mayne).
During her work at Frisco's, Joanna is pestered by Danny Boy (James Lilburn), Logan's Irish assistant, who ignores her insults and warnings to let her alone. When the embarrassed Danny Boy threatens Joanna, she grabs him and throws him to the floor. Augie (Harry Lane) – another target of Joanna's surveillance—beats Danny Boy's head with his cane, knocking him unconsciuous. Logan fights with Augie, revealing he carries a sword cane by tossing the blade at Logan.
Joanna accompanies Logan, Danny Boy and his crew on their boat the Banshee to smuggle goods into Spain where they are hijacked by a boat led by Augie. The Banshee manages to escape but without their cargo. Logan is arrested by the Civil Guard but manages to escape with Augie unsuccessfully attempting to assassinate Joanna. Joanna tracks down the smuggling ring, shooting Logan and discovering the real head of the smuggling ring, who she has the Civil Guard eliminate.
- Maureen O'Hara as Joanna Dane
- MacDonald Carey as Van Logan
- Binnie Barnes as Frisco
- Guy Middleton as Soames Howard
- James O'Hara as Danny Boy (credited as James Lilburn)
- Leonard Sachs as Paul Dupont
- Harry Lane as Augie
- Bruce Beeby as Potts
- Meinhart Maur as Jakie
- Hugh McDermott as Richard Farrell
- Ferdy Mayne as Mustapha
Although an international cast of primarily British and German actors was involved, American producer Mitchell "Mike" Frankovich and director Richard Sale crafted a thriller set in the international city of Tangiers. Location shooting took place in Málaga, Andalucía, Spain with studio footage shot at Shepperton Studios, London from early November to mid-December 1953.
During pre-production, Errol Flynn and Indian actress Nimmi were considered for lead roles before casting was completed. While Maureen O'Hara played a James Bond-type spy, her life was in turmoil after a messy custody battle following a divorce. Her casting in Malaga, however, was instrumental in winning a court case against the tabloid Confidential.
Malaga had a London premiere on 29 June 1954. In its Fire Over Africa release, film critic Howard Thompson wrote in The New York Times that the film "(was)... this contrived, far-fetched melodrama of contraband smuggling in the Tangier sector stars Maureen O'Hara and Macdonald Carey, who would have been wiser to rough it out at home in Hollywood."
- Walker 1981, p. 73
- Sellers and Morecambe 2000, p. 38.
- "Original print information: 'Malaga'." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: 29 August 2016.
- Smith, Richard Harland. "Articles: 'Rire Over Africa'." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: 29 August 2016.
- Thompson, Howard (H.H.T.). "Movie review: The screen in review; ' Fire Over Africa' bows at the Globe Theatre." The New York Times, 22 November 1954.